Skip to main content Accessibility help

Low-Dose Glyphosate Does Not Control Annual Bromes in the Northern Great Plains

  • Erin K. Espeland (a1) and Robert Kilian (a2)


Annual bromes (downy brome and Japanese brome) have been shown to decrease perennial grass forage production and alter ecosystem functions in northern Great Plains rangelands. Large-scale chemical control might be a method for increasing rangeland forage production. Although fall application has been shown to be the most effective and least likely to impact co-occurring native species, spring germination of downy brome may reduce the efficacy of fall-only herbicide application. We assessed the impact of a low glyphosate dose rate (210 g ha−1) applied to rangelands in fall or in fall and spring on nontarget species and on annual brome abundance at two sites in eastern Montana over 2 yr. We tested the following hypotheses: (1) nontarget effects are greater with spring herbicide application, (2) fall and spring herbicide application are necessary for effective downy brome control, and (3) fall herbicide application is sufficient to control Japanese brome. Few nontarget effects occurred; two dicotyledonous species exhibited small increases in response to herbicide. We found that that a single fall application reduced downy brome cover and seed bank density, but after the second fall application in the following year, downy brome did not continue to show a response to herbicide. After 2 yr of fall herbicide application, Japanese brome had denser seed banks in plots where herbicide had been applied. Blanket glyphosate application on rangelands is an unreliable method for controlling annual brome invasions in the northern Great Plains.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author's E-mail:


Hide All
Amrhein, N, Schab, J, Steinrüken, HC (1980) The mode of action of the herbicide glyphosate. Naturwissenschaften 67:356357
Anderson, EW (1986) A guide for estimating cover. Rangelands 8:236238
Baskin, JM, Baskin, CC (1981) Ecology of germination and flowering in the weedy winter annual grass Bromus japonicus . J Range Manag 34:369372
Bayless, S (1971) Relationships between big game and sagebrush. [Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Northwest Section of the Wildlife Society; 1971 March 25–26; Bozeman, MT]. Unpublished paper on file. Missoula, MT U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. [17098] 14 p
Beck, KG, Sebastian, JR, Chapman, PL (1995) Jointed goatgrass (Aegilops cylindrica) and downy brome (Bromus tectorum) control in perennial grasses. Weed Technol 9:255259
Benjamini, Y, Hochberg, Y (1995) Controlling the false discovery rate: a practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. J R Stat Soc B Met 289–300.
Blackshaw, RE (1991) Control of downy brome (Bromus tectorum) in conservation fallow systems. Weed Technol 5:557562
Chambers, JC, Roundy, BA, Blank, RR, Meyer, SE, Whittaker, A (2007) What makes Great Basin sagebrush systems invasible by Bromus tectorum? Ecol Monogr 77:117145
Cody, WJ, MacInnes, KL, Cayouette, J, Darbyshire, S (2000) Alien and invasive native vascular plants along the Norman Wells Pipeline, District of Mackenzie, Northwest Territories. Can Field-Nat 114:126137
Currie, PO, Volesky, JD, Hilken, TO, White, RS (1987) Selective control of annual bromes in perennial grass stands. J Range Manag 40:547550
DiTomaso, JM (2000) Invasive weeds in rangelands: Species, impacts, and management. Weed Sci 48:255265
Escorial, C, Loureiro, I, Rodriguez-Garcia, E, Chueca, C (2011) Population variability in the response of ripgut brome (Bromus diandrus) to sulfosulfuron and glyphosate herbicides. Weed Sci 59:107112
Haferkamp, MR, Heitschmidt, RK, Karl, MG (1997) Influence of Japanese brome on western wheatgrass yield. J Range Manag 50:4450
Haferkamp, MR, Volesky, JD, Borman, MM, Heitschmidt, RK, Currie, PO (1993) Effects of mechanical treatments and climatic factors on the productivity of northern Great Plains rangelands. J Range Manag 46:346350
Harris, GA (1967) Some competitive relationships between Agropyron spicatum and Bromus tectorum . Ecol Monogr 37:89111
Hiebert, RD, Stubbendieck, JL (1993) Handbook for Ranking Exotic Plants for Management and Control. Denver, CO US Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Natural Resources Publication Office. p 48
Jiang, J (1996) REML estimation: asymptotic behavior and related topics. Ann Stat 24:255286
Johnson, WG, Davis, VM, Kruger, GR, Weller, SC (2009) Influence of glyphosate-resistant cropping systems on weed species shifts and glyphosate-resistant weed populations. Eur J Agron 31:162172
Kapusta, G, Strieker, CF (1975) Selective control of downy brome in alfalfa. Weed Sci 23:202206
Kyser, GB, DiTomaso, JM, Doran, MP, SOrloff, SB, Wilson, RG, Lancaster, DL, Lile, DF, Porath, ML (2007) Control of medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) and other annual grasses with imazapic. Weed Technol 21:6675
Mack, RN, Pyke, DA (1983) The demography of Bromus tectorum: variation in time and space. J Ecol 71:6993
Menalled, F, Mangold, J, Davis, E (2008) Cheatgrass Identification, Biology and Integrated Management. Bozeman, MT Montana State University Extension Publication MT200811AG. 4 p
Montana Department of Agriculture (2013) Montana Noxious Weed List. Accessed March 19, 2015.
Morris, C, Monaco, TA, Rigby, CW (2009) Variable impacts of imazapic rate on downy brome (Bromus tectorum) and seeded species in two rangeland communities. Invasive Plant Sci Manag 2:110119
NOAA (2014) Western Regional Climate Center Summaries. Accessed December 16, 2014.
Ogle, SM, Reiners, WR, Gerow, KG (2003) Impacts of exotic annual brome grass (Bromus spp.) on ecosystem properties of northern mixed grass prairie. Am Midl Nat 149:4658
Ostlie, MH, Howatt, KA (2013) Downy brome (Bromus tectorum) competition and control in no-till spring wheat. Weed Technol 27:502508
Owen, SM, Hull Sieg, C, Gehring, CA (2011) Rehabilitating downy brome (Bromus tectorum)- invaded shrublands using imazapic and seeding with native shrubs. Invasive Plant Sci Manag 4:223233
Power, EF, Kelly, DL, Stout, JC (2013) The impacts of traditional and novel herbicide application methods on target plants, non-target plants and production in intensive grasslands. Weed Res 53:131139
Rodriguez, AM, Jacobo, EL (2013) Glyphosate effects on seed bank and vegetation composition of temperate grasslands. Appl Veg Sci 16:5162
Rowe, CJ, Leger, EA (2011) Competitive seedlings and inherited traits: a test of rapid evolution of Elymus multisetus (big squirreltail) in response to cheatgrass invasion. Evol Appl 4:485498
Smith, MA, Enloe, SF (2006) Cheatgrass ecology and management in Wyoming. Laramie, WY University of Wyoming Extension Service. Wyoming Range Facts MP – 111.06. 2 p.
Thacker, E, Ralphs, MH, Monaco, TA (2009) Seeding cool-season grasses to suppress broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), downy brome (Bromus tecctorum), and weedy forbs. Invasive Plant Sci Manag 9:237246
[USDA NRCS] U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (2006) USDA Agriculture Handbook. Accessed March 19, 2015
[USDA NRCS] U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (2014) Web Soil Survey. Accessed March 19, 2015
Vermeire, LT, Crowder, JL, Wester, DB (2011) Plant community and soil environment response to summer fire in the northern Great Plains. Range Ecol Manag 64:3746
Vermeire, LT, Rinella, MJ (2009) Fire alters emergence of invasive plant species from soil surface-deposited seeds. Weed Sci 57:304310
Waller, SS, Schmidt, DK (1983) Improvement of eastern Nebraska tallgrass range using atrazine or glyphosate. J Range Manag 36:8790
White, RS, Currie, PO (1983) Prescribed burning in the northern Great Plains: yield and cover responses of 3 forage species in the mixed grass prairie. J Range Manag 34:179183
Wicks, GA (1984) Integrated systems for control and management of downy brome (Bromus tectorum) in cropland. Weed Sci 32 (Suppl): 2631
Wicks, GA, Fenster, CR, Burnside, OC (1965) Chemical control of downy brome in grasslands of western Nebraska. Weeds 13:202205
Young, JA, Evans, RA, Eckert, RE Jr (1969) Population dynamics of downy brome. Weed Sci 17:2026


Low-Dose Glyphosate Does Not Control Annual Bromes in the Northern Great Plains

  • Erin K. Espeland (a1) and Robert Kilian (a2)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed